Home > Ireland: national report for 2023 - harms and harm reduction.

Health Research Board. Irish National Focal Point to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. (2024) Ireland: national report for 2023 - harms and harm reduction. Dublin: Health Research Board.

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This report summarises the most recently available data with regard to drug-related harms and drug-related harm interventions in the Republic of Ireland.


Ireland maintains a special register that is a complete census of all drug-induced deaths. Established in 2005, the National Drug-Related Deaths Index (NDRDI), which is maintained by the Health Research Board (HRB), is an epidemiological database that records cases of deaths by drug poisoning, and deaths among drug users in Ireland, extending back to 1998.


Data on drug-related acute emergencies in the Irish context refer to all admissions to acute general hospitals with non-fatal overdoses and are extracted from the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry (HIPE) scheme. Data for the years 2021 and 2022 are included in this report.


The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) is notified of incidences of newly diagnosed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV). Notification data for 2022 are included in this report.


There were 322 drug-induced deaths in 2020; the comparable figure for 2019 was 298. The majority of those who died were male, aged in their early 40s. Opioids were the most common drug group associated with drug-induced deaths.


There were 5,014 overdose cases in 2021 and 4,425 overdose cases in 2022 discharged from Irish hospitals. Opioids were involved in 15.2% (n=765) and 16.7% (n=742) of cases, cocaine in 5.2% (n=261) and 5.3% (n=236) of cases, and cannabis in 2.3% (n=119) and 2.0% (n=90) of cases in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

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